Africa offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world – an attribute which creates a great platform for exploration on foot. For those who love a rewarding challenge, Tanzania's Mt Kilimanjaro is a spectacular climb.
The summit, at 5895 metres above sea level poses a test that some find irresistible. Further north in Ethiopia, the UNESCO-listed Simien Mountains offer a different experience. Immerse yourself in Stunning cliff faces and folds of rock as well as culture, wildlife and experiences in numerous villages along the way.
The star hike: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The world’s tallest freestanding mountain, the roof of Africa, eulogised by writers and poets... Kilimanjaro needs little introduction, and the desire to climb it is an almost instinctive thing for many trekkers. Who wouldn’t want to scale its summit, to move through the dramatically diverse climatic zones en route, to get that feeling of an alpine expedition at base camp? An icon among mountains and among treks, and for good reason.
The lesser known: Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
The background: A northerly doppelganger of South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains, the UNESCO-listed Simiens are a stunning world of huge cliffs and crinkled folds of rock, towering peaks and plunging valleys, blanketed in shades of green, gold and brown. 25 summits here top out at over 4,000 metres, making the Simien Mountains one of Africa’s top spots for high-altitude trekking, as well as wonderful in their diversity.
Why go: culture, wildlife, big peaks and big, big views. Trails lead through villages and are constantly bringing you to viewpoints where great ripples of towering granite roll out in front of you. While you’re at one of these panoramic spots, keep an eye out for ibex, the rare Ethiopian wolf and the gelada baboon.
The highlight: It’s difficult to top Ras Dashen. In fact, in the Simiens, it’s impossible – this is the tallest peak in the range, and at 4543 metres, Africa’s fourth highest. And as a bonus, don’t forget other Ethiopian treasures nearby, like the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela – Africa’s answer to Petra.